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#686645 - 11/05/08 06:23 PM FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Gonzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Orange County, CA
I've searched the forums and can't find some specific answers, so I thought I'd ask:

I'm looking for a 88 key keyboard. I used to play professionally (for many years but have since gotten away from it). Recently bought a nice little acoustic for home, but the kids are on it all the time and it's a bit loud for my turn late at night.

Requirements: I'm looking for Pro-Level quality and higher end digital piano sound. I'd like the board to have built in speakers (so I can take it to the kids school and play for some of the goofy things my wife "volunteers" me for).

I'd also like to be able to take it on the occasional live gig...in this situation I'd like it to be able to split/layer as follows: left hand bass patch (no reverb or effects, no volume or sustain pedal change), right hand layered (i.e. piano and strings) with effects, sustain, and volume pedal. So basically a flat bass sound that stays static (as far as volume and sustain goes) with no effects....and a nice layered right hand with effects and foot controlled volume and sustain (sorry if redundant).

I went to GC to check out and pretty much landed on the CP300 and FP7. My observations and questions:

It seems on the FP7 that you can split or layer, but not both (as per requirement above)? Is that a correct assumption?

Also, on the FP7, the left hand when you did do a split had effects on the bass patches....can you turn them off for just one side of the split, or is it a global effect for the entire board? Reverb on key bass on a live gig sounds awful to me.

I preferred the action on the FP7 to the CP300...but at the store I was at, there was no sustain pedal on the FP7, so I couldn't effectively do the Chopin test. The CP300 was a bit mushier to me. The left side of the Yamaha seemed heavier....great for piano patch, but not so good for key bass on a gig.

The sounds on the FP7 were also a bit more usable to me...both had decent piano patches, but the FP's GM sounds seemed a bit more usable to me in a gig situation (but that may be because I've used Roland keyboards in the past and have used many of those sounds and already know which ones work and don't on a gig).

Also the FP7 had a nice fingered bass sound that I felt was a bit easier to get funky with (not a slap sound, not a fretless sound, a nice all around bass patch for pop music)...although I could never get the reverb off of just the bass patch....so useless to me for a real gig.

The CP300 on the other hand had the perfect split/layer functionality and was pretty easy to figure out. The Piano/String patches usually have strings that are too bright for my taste, so a simple layer of Grand Piano and soft strings works nicely for filling up the holes in the sound. That being said, I can't say I was crazy about many of the other patches (but then again, I've used a Roland D-70, so I'm used to the Roland patches) and I couldn't find a general all around key bass sound that had any punch.

The volume control of the right hand part is important to me. In the past (at least on my D70) I got the volume control from a pedal by doing the following: Run a short MIDI cable from MIDI OUT directly back to MIDI IN, then turn MIDI local off and map the MIDI IN (or OUT) so that the volume control messages only go the the right hand's MIDI channel. It's worked well for me in the past to get the split/layering I want with the MIDI mapping, but a lot of people have wondered about the 6" cable going from MIDI OUT to MIDI IN. Anyway....do the FP7 and CP300 have decent MIDI mapping capabilities that might allow me to customize the controllers per my specific needs?

The CP300 also has the pitch bend and modulation wheels....don't know why they left those off the FP7 (especially since they have so many synth patches in the GM sound set).

So I'm not exactly sure which way to go....can I do what I want on the FP7? I did prefer it's patches and feel. Or should I get used to the Yamaha's feel for the greater split/layering control? Or are either of these companies releasing something new in the near future that will be better suited to my needs?

Any input is greatly appreciated!

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#686646 - 11/05/08 09:10 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Dave Ferris Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/07
Posts: 1675
Loc: Glendale, Ca.
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#686647 - 11/06/08 01:23 AM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Hey Gonzo,

Fancy meeting you here! \:D So much for your YUS-1....appropriated by your kids...I know how that drill goes.

I agree with Dave except when he says "I'm a pretty simple guy that just plays the piano." He should say that he's a simple guy that plays the piano really well.

On the speakers, if you have to bring an FP-7 to a school auditorium to entertain kiddies through those itsy-bitsy speakers, the sound won't be good. A classroom may be okay though.

On the weight, lugging the FP-7 is a chore. I can't imagine hauling the Yamaha around.

On the splits / layers / effects questions, I just tried to do what you would like to do on mine. I don't think it's possible.

Basically the FP-7 will offer two simultaneous tones. You can access the two tones through a split or a layer. I don't think you can do both. And you are quite right on the effects. If you put reverb and/or multi-effects on the one tone, you get it on the other too. Now maybe someone out there knows how to get around this limitation, but the owner's manual doesn't mention anything.

One thing about the string patches. On the FP-7 you can go with piano + strings as a variant on Grand piano 1, piano + pad as a variant on Grand piano 2, and Magical Piano as a variant on Grand piano 3. The string patch on Grand one is pretty subdued compared to the string sound on the other two. It might work for you. Then you could split so that Grand piano 1 + strings is the upper tone and set everything below the F#3 to be fingered bass, slap bass, or whatever bass you prefer.

You might want to follow up on Dave's suggestion to look into the GX. I agree with Dave that even though it's the same sample as the FP-7, it sounds warmer and more interesting on the GX (possibly the drivers?). The GX has far more bells and whistles than the FP, so it may have more split and layer options.

On the volume question, I couldn't follow what you were saying.

One last thing. I'm in complete agreement with Dave that the Yamaha sound is better for ensemble work and the Roland has a more interesting tone for solo work.
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#686648 - 11/06/08 02:24 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Andree Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 248
Loc: Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by turandot:
I agree with Dave that even though it's the same sample as the FP-7, it sounds warmer and more interesting on the GX (possibly the drivers?) [/b]
Hi,

FP7 doesn't have the same pianosamplings as 700GX, it's two different records. Therefore the 700GX sounds better \:\)

/Andrée

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#686649 - 11/06/08 05:08 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Andree,

My information comes from the guys in the sound lab at Roland's North American headquarters. They told me that the piano sample was the same. That does not exclude the possibility of different processing--filters, drivers, etc. Often Roland refers to this processing as the 'sound engine'. This is quite different from using a new sample. The sampling process is tedious and expensive.

On what do you base your statement that the piano sample is different? Does it say that anywhere in Roland's product description? If it does, I will certainly believe it. If it doesn't, I will assume that Roland has tweaked the same sample to what they believe is an improved sound.
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Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#686650 - 11/06/08 05:24 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Gonzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Orange County, CA
As for the speakers, I'm not looking for auditorium filling sound (I've got 2000W PA with Subs for gigging), I'm am talking about a small class room type of setting.

I have an old Roland E35 (they called it an Intelligent Arranger)...5 octave non-weighted keyboard with crappy piano patch...but it does have speakers and is generally loud enough for a small group of kids...it's drawback is it's just a step above a toy and not fun to play as a piano at all.

I've really been concentrating on piano (with my recent acoustic purchase) and I'm looking for a digital equivalent (I know that's an impossible request) that's portable. I didn't take the CP300's weight into account. I have fond memories of carting around an electric grand, Fender Rhodes and a B3 in the old days....not something I'm interested in anymore.

The split/layering and synth patches is more of a financial justification...if I can play it on the very few gigs I play these days it's a little easier to pry the money out of the coffers.

I am a bit worried about the acoustic piano patches having too much dynamics for a gig situation...older piano patches on my D70 that have worked for me in the past aren't really to acoustic like in the dynamics department. I know that it sometime feels like you have to pound a bit in the store demoing these things.

I'm also considering the possibility of setting up the FP-7's MIDI mapping to see if I can send all of the left side of the split out MIDI and just play the right side internally (or accomplish the same thing by running MIDI OUT to MIDI IN and turning off local). Basically: Left hand controlling external bass module, right hand split with Piano and whatever. Is that a possibility turandot?

This is a tough decision for me because each of these two keyboards has features I want, but is missing some things that the other has. For example, the Session Partner in the Roland is not a big deal for me, but might be nice for my son who's learning to improvise, where as the layering on the CP300 works better for me for a live gig.

I guess it's more trips to the store to keep playing with them!

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#686651 - 11/06/08 05:48 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
 Quote:
I'm also considering the possibility of setting up the FP-7's MIDI mapping to see if I can send all of the left side of the split out MIDI and just play the right side internally (or accomplish the same thing by running MIDI OUT to MIDI IN and turning off local). Basically: Left hand controlling external bass module, right hand split with Piano and whatever. Is that a possibility turandot?
Whoah......Gonzo. You left me in the dust. I hope someone can answer, but it ain't me! \:D
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Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#686652 - 11/06/08 08:11 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Gonzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Orange County, CA
Hey turandot...yeah that MIDI OUT to IN thing makes no sense when I try to explain it.

Basically what I've done in the past is use the MIDI OUT mapping features (or MIDI IN mapping features) on some keyboards to get around the limitations of the pre-programmed splits and layers. For example on my Roland D70 I was able to map (and it's been ages, so my description may not be completely correct) the different MIDI channels to send and receive MIDI data based on a map. For example, I could have the keyboard transmit my volume pedal and sustain pedal on Channel 1, along with my right hand key presses (from like the F below middle C to the top of the keyboard), then I could map the left hand part of the split to broadcast on Channel 2 and control just my external bass module without the bass module receiving volume or sustain pedal messages.

The reason for doing it with MIDI was because the keyboard as a whole responded to the volume and sustain pedal messages...even if it was split in the patches. To make it work, I set up the keyboard to just act like a MIDI controller (i.e. turning local off), and then run MIDI OUT to MIDI IN so that it's synth engine would work like an external sound module. When I did this overly complicated setup I was able to get my setup working the way I needed it (I was doing mostly key bass type of gigs). It seems to me that most keyboards these days have nice MIDI mapping capabilities because they can be controlled on all 16 channels by computers and/or external controllers.

I'm probably not explaining it too well...but I was basically going for a flat no-effects/no volume/no aftertouch/no sustain pedal bass patch on the left hand and all the bells and whistles under the right. In my experience playing key bass, once you land on a comfortable volume for the bass part, you really don't have to change it much during the gig, and flat with no effects made for the tightest sound. But, when playing key bass, I really needed a volume pedal on the right hand because you didn't have an extra hand to mess with that volume while your playing (i.e. you need to turn it up to solo, or turn it down because the singer is giving you dirty looks).

I've downloaded the manuals for the synths, but I can't seem to find the answers to my questions in them (but maybe that IS the answer to my questions). And I'm sure my explanation is still clear as mud!

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#686653 - 11/06/08 09:48 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
puff Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 196
Loc: oxford UK
The piano sound that is common to both FP7 and RD700GX is called Superior Grand.
This sounds a bit better on the GX.
The GX has a newer sample called Exspresive Grand, and others as well, which are not found on the FP7.

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#686654 - 11/06/08 10:53 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Gonzo,

I can follow what you're saying now, but I'm in no position to answer. All I can say is that if it worked on a primitive Roland, it might work on the FP-7 as well. I'd recommend asking Roland technical support through their website.

Puff,

I'm not trying to split hairs here, but I see nothing in the Roland product description of the GX that tells me they have worked with a different acoustic instrument to create a wholly new sample set. The fact that what they refer to as their "finest 88-key stereo multi-sampled piano engine" being the heart of the GX leads me to believe that they are building off of the same sample set that was used in the FP-7. The FP-7 is also described as "Equipped with Roland’s finest 88-key multi-sampled piano sound engine, each and every key of a full concert grand has been painstakingly reproduced".

Roland is pretty nebulous in describing their actual sampling. They have never revealed what acoustic piano they used. They also have a reputation for doing lots of processing of the original sample to create different tone sets. That's all good if you like the result (which I do). But it's a far cry from the software piano libraries which tell you much more about the actual sampling process.

If you find it in print somewhere that Roland has sampled a different instrument from the one they describe as their finest multi-sampled piano engine and created a new core sample to build off, please post it here. I would be delighted if that were true.
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Will Johnny Come Marching Home?
The fate of the modern wartime soldier

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#686655 - 11/07/08 02:27 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Andree Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 248
Loc: Sweden
I have posted a question to Roland Scandinavia about the discussion if the samplings are the same or not on the FP7 and the RD700GX. I will post the answer (if I get any)

/Andrée

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#686656 - 11/10/08 01:12 AM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Discotheque Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/24/08
Posts: 81
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
Gonzo... I don't understand the midi in/out thing... but is what you want this:

You want a left hand bass sound, no reverb, no effects, and not affected by an expression (volume pedal); and in the upper portion of the keyboard you want to be able to layer 2 sounds and have reverb, effects, etc and be able to control ONLY the volume of the upper layers with an expression pedal?

If these are your requirements, I can tell you that the Roland RD-300gx will meet these, thus the Roland RD-700gx will as well.

I own the Roland RD-300sx, I can split, or layer, but not both, but this keyboard is the precursor to the gx. What it does do though, in the split sounds you can customize each side, have lots of reverb on one, none on the other, you can choose to have the sustain pedal work on both, none, or one of the sounds, and you can choose to have the control pedal (whatever you choose that to be, for your purposes it would be expression, i.e. volume) affect the bottom, top, both, or none. You can also transpose each side independantly (useful if you have 2 organ sounds and want to simulate having 2 manuals in similar octaves), and do a whole slew of other things.

I played on an RD-300gx and it can do everything above, plus you can have one sound on the bottom, and 2 sounds on the top (so a split bass, and 2 layered sounds on the top). The RD-700gx can do 4 combinations of these, so you can split the keyboard and in each zone you can layer them. You can also apply multi-effects independantly to each zone (distortion, phaser, flanger, etc.). I'm not familiar completely with the RD-700gx, but I do know that it would meet all of your requirements minus the built-in speakers. The action is very nice as well.

You're going to have to be prepared to lug around some weight though, it's about 50 pounds I think. The 300gx is about 35 pounds, meets all your requirements, but the action is less-that-satisfying for piano playing.

Hope that helps.

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#686657 - 11/10/08 05:15 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Gonzo Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/22/08
Posts: 55
Loc: Orange County, CA
Hey Discotheque,

Thanks for the input. I think I tried a RD-700gx at the local Guitar Center, but they didn't have a sustain pedal on it and it was plugged into a crummy amp on the floor (i.e. it didn't sound good the first couple of notes...so I moved on). I'll get out there again and try it out. Actually, it's foolish of the retailers to not have sustain pedals on the digital pianos and stage pianos....that's a big part of the piano feel!

I'm weighing the advantages of the built in speakers. I'd probably give them up for the right combination of features, but if I'm just going to only have a piano...then might as well get some speakers built in so I can tote it around and practice easily.

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#686658 - 11/10/08 05:28 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
Andree Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/25/08
Posts: 248
Loc: Sweden
 Quote:
Originally posted by Andrée:
 Quote:
Originally posted by turandot:
I agree with Dave that even though it's the same sample as the FP-7, it sounds warmer and more interesting on the GX (possibly the drivers?) [/b]
Hi,

FP7 doesn't have the same pianosamplings as 700GX, it's two different records. Therefore the 700GX sounds better \:\)

/Andrée [/b]
Hi again!

Now I have received the answer from Roland Scandinavia according to our discussion about Roland's pianosamplings. Regarding to the answer (given in swedish), Roland says that they are using the same concert grand when they are recording the sounds for their pianos. Due to this I must correct the statement that I made before, where I said that the samplings for FP7 and 700GX are different. They seem to be the same, but they are published in two different styles, the 700GX has a lot of more added effects than the FP7.

/Andrée

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#686659 - 11/10/08 06:19 PM Re: FP7 vs CP300 Specific Questions
turandot Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 7089
Loc: torrance, CA
Hey Andree,

Thanks for the follow-up. There is really nothing wrong with Roland's way of going about things. They are putting their effort into processing the sound and using improved drivers. The sound is the sound. It doesn't matter how they generate it. Probably their knowledge base of all the different tricks to enhance a core acoustic sample is bigger than anyone else's. More power to them.
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